Apthorp: It’s Alive!

The Apthorp has long been something of a real-life New York fantasy–think New Yorker writers in sprawling, decaying, rent-controlled Upper West Side apartments; think celebrities; think angels in the Renaissance Revival architecture.

After a high-drama condo conversion in 2007, though, market reality has made things considerably less fantastic.

Last winter, Max Abelson chronicled the Apthorp’s tortuous recent history:

What was once a rental farce became a joke about a rabbi, red ants, a gun-carrying real estate manager, a diamond billionaire, and a jeans magnate who walked into a monumental Upper West Side rental building, tried to make it into a gold-plated condo, and may be walking out in foreclosure on Jan. 15, the date one lender has reportedly given as a deadline for avoiding default.

Fortunately for the diamond billionaire and the jeans magnate, the Apthorp avoided forclosure. And after some significant price cuts, it also managed to sell 15 percent of its units in time for its September 15th conversion deadline.

Yesterday The Real Deal reported Dolly Lenz’s claim that she had sold 34 Apthorp units in the last month, and today Curbed points out that if the 28 units currently in contract (according to StreetEasy) go for their asking prices, the Apthorp will rack up $170 million in sales–a startling figure, even if it’s “highly improbable.”

As exciting as this for the many people who are very worried about Manhattan real estate, I can’t help but feel a certain ambivalence. Condos? How do you romanticize a condo? Apthorp: It’s Alive!